‘In It To Win It’: GOP Governor Has His Sights Set On The Presidency, Won’t Settle For Cabinet Post


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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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  • Republican North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is likely launching his 2024 presidential bid this week, and insisted he’s “in it to win,” he told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview.
  • Burgum has decades of experience as an executive, between heading several businesses and serving as North Dakota’s twice-elected governor, and his expected presidential run is one for the top position in the executive branch, not for a cabinet position, he told the DCNF.
  • “We’re in it to win, and that’s what we’re shooting for. If for some reason that’s not in the plans, I think you’d see me as running for a third term as governor of North Dakota as opposed to running for a cabinet position,” Burgum told the DCNF.

North Dakota’s Republican governor is expected to join the growing Republican presidential primary field in the coming days, and insisted he isn’t seeking a cabinet position, he told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview.

Gov. Doug Burgum, North Dakota’s 33rd governor, is likely announcing his presidential bid on Wednesday in Fargo, North Dakota, and has already been filming television advertisements in preparation for a campaign. While the two-term governor would face stiff competition in the 2024 GOP primaries, he is focused only on winning the presidency and isn’t concerned with securing a cabinet level position in a future administration, he told the DCNF in an interview.

“I’m not running for a cabinet position,” Burgum told the DCNF of his expected run for president. “We’re in it to win, and that’s what we’re shooting for. If for some reason that’s not in the plans, I think you’d see me as running for a third term as governor of North Dakota as opposed to running for a cabinet position.”

The governor, who doesn’t view himself as a politician but as a “business leader,” noted that he’s always been in an executive role, whether it’s been as the twice-elected governor or as the head of several companies. He said his executive experience is the reason why he would “never” run to serve in the House or the Senate, and doesn’t want to serve under a president in a cabinet position, he told the DCNF.

“If we’re going to run, and if we’re going to get into this race, I’m not pushing a book sale and I’m not running for a cabinet position,” Burgum told the DCNF. “We’d be running because we think that America needs new leadership for a changing economy.” (RELATED: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum To Make ‘Major Announcement’ As He Prepares To Run For President)

The governor is a wealthy businessman who worked in the private sector for decades, mortgaging his inherited family farm to invest in his technology firm Great Plains Software in the 1980s, which he later sold to Microsoft for over $1 billion, according to Forbes. He then served as senior vice president for Microsoft, and went on to found the real estate development company, the Kilbourne Group, and co-found Arthur Ventures, a software investment firm.

Burgum will likely self-fund his expected presidential campaign, as he did when he ran for governor, according to multiple reports and Republican operatives within the state. The Republican primary will be an expensive one, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis raising $8.2 million in his campaign’s first 24 hours, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott raised $2 million on the first day of his campaign, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley took in $8.3 million in just over a month as a candidate and former President Donald Trump hauled in $9.5 million in the first six weeks of his campaign.

Burgum had no previous political experience when he initially ran for governor in 2016, and challenged the then- state Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem in the Republican gubernatorial primary, who had the backing of the GOP convention delegates. Despite Stenehjem’s decades-long background in state politics as a legislator and top-attorney, the governor trounced him 59.47% to 38.59%, and overwhelmingly won the general election by roughly 60 points.

“When we jumped into the race in North Dakota, we were down in the poll 69% to 10%, and people literally said, ‘you can’t win, it’s less than six months into the primary in June.’ There was an established leader with 100% name recognition, and we said ‘okay, well, we’re just gonna do our thing, and we’ll see how it turns out, and of course we ended up winning the primary by 60% to 40% in a race that people six months earlier said we couldn’t win,” Burgum told the DCNF. “We’re undaunted by the idea that we’ve got low name recognition.”

Burgum handily won reelection in 2020, beating his Democratic opponent 65.8% to 25.4%, and maintained a positive approval rating throughout his governorship. He entered his first and second terms with 69% and 58% support, respectively, according to Morning Consult, and was ranked the fourth most popular governor in the country in 2022.

The governor’s expected run for president won’t be easy, as the GOP primary is chock-full of Republican heavyweights including  former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who are currently leading the field with 53.2% and 22.4%, respectively, according to the RealClearPolitics average.

If he seeks the nomination, Burgum will also join former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and conservative radio personality Larry Elder. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Vice President Mike Pence are expected to enter the race on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

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